The conversation about menopause has started to open up a lot over the last few years. Historically, this life-altering event was spoken about in whispers as many women were too afraid or embarrassed to speak openly about their experience. The sad truth is that although this is slowly changing, many women are still blindsided by their symptoms and don’t receive the help they need as a result. A survey by Mumsnet found that 36% of those who sought help for perimenopause visited their GP at least three times before being prescribed appropriate treatment.
There are a vast number of symptoms associated with menopause, and they can vary significantly between women. Some women’s periods space further apart and get lighter; others become more frequent and heavier. The most common physical symptoms are sweats and hot flushes, but you may also experience joint pain, fatigue, hair loss, dry skin, loss of libido, insomnia, mood swings, anxiety, depression and brain fog. It can really be quite debilitating.
Many women have come to see me, experiencing symptoms with no idea what they were related to. They may be suffering from symptoms of low mood, loss of libido or problems sleeping, but don’t even consider that it may be related to menopause. On the other hand, they may have a list of symptoms and are aware that menopause is the problem but don’t believe that anything can be done to help.
When it happens, the conversation about menopause is something that’s had between women in their fifties, but we need to shift this, so younger women are also talking and learning about it. If we open up the conversation while women are in their twenties, they’ll be so much better equipped when it happens.
And movements of openness are starting to emerge. Various authors, TV shows, social media platforms, and brands are beginning to recognise that the menopause isn’t just for mature ladies and are working towards destigmatising the subject. We still have a long way to go, but menopause can be a liberating experience with proper support and discussion. We are all living much longer now, and menopause should be seen as the start of a new phase of life rather than as the end.
Taking a holistic approach to ageing
Looking great helps us feel better about ourselves. Many women come to see me when they start to notice the face and body changes that come with ageing, hoping that they will feel normal again if they address them. But, quite often, the reason they don’t feel great is actually down to hormonal imbalances. This is why I believe that we should take a global approach to looking and feeling better by combining in-clinic treatments with hormone replacement therapy to control the symptoms that are happening on the inside. As a doctor with a great interest in female health, I feel it’s important that I can have discussions with my patients and offer them viable solutions when I see that menopausal symptoms have become an issue.
Additionally, from a health management perspective, oestrogen is crucial. A woman’s risk of heart disease is significantly lower than a man’s, but it catches up within five years of menopause, and our risk of developing osteoporosis soars when our oestrogen levels start to drop. When we manage the symptoms of menopause effectively, women will feel fitter, healthier, and better overall, and this will reflect in their overall appearance, amplifying the results of their aesthetic treatments.
Menopause shouldn’t be a mystery. It matters and it’s no less important than any other part of healthcare. It’s a natural process in a woman’s life, like puberty, periods and pregnancy, and it’s time for women to see it as a life phase, not as the end of their womanhood.
Whether you’re just starting to notice the effects of menopause or have been struggling for a while, there are options available that can help, click here to book a consultation at my Kent or London Clinic.